Big week for America, big week for BC — Merry Christmas all

A big week for America. Vaccines roll out across our country

Dr. Eisha Christian, receives her vaccine.

Definitely a tear-filled moment when I received this photo from my daughter … pretty special young woman.

On Monday, Dec 14th, Gavin Newsom traveled to LA to be present when the first Californian, Helen Cordova, a nurse at Kaiser Pemanente received the vaccine.

On Thursday, the first vaccines administered in Bakersfield were given to some of our own front-line health care workers, including Dr. Brij Bhambi of the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. And if you have not signed up for our blog, plz do so at

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi was among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Bakersfield.

But it is still important that we remain vigilant in maintaining our pandemic safety. While the vaccine has arrived and those at highest risk have begun receiving it, there is still a long road before everyone will be able to be vaccinated. Do you want to know when your turn will be up…. check out the graphic below.

You can get an idea of your own place in line using the online Vaccine Calculator Tool.

So please – know that hope is here and the end is in sight, but continue to wear your mask and maintain social distancing to keep us all protected until we all are able to be vaccinated.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 19, 2020 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Let me help you start this holiday season with music from our choir from the last several years when they did the Culinary and Caroling dinner event. Plus I loved that Jack and Eileen Pierce did a family caroling program this year to spread some good Christmas cheer. Relax with some hot chocolate and sink into this glorious music.

The Pierce family spreading Christmas cheer:

CARE/CalWORKs Holiday Celebration

Thanks to the generosity of BC staff, faculty and community members, over seventy-five CARE/CalWORKs students received gifts for their children in the mail this past week. All donors received the following thank you video.

Outreach and Early College Get Into the Holiday Spirit

The Outreach and Early College team got into the holiday spirit at their virtual holiday party! The team played games, exchanged white elephant gifts, and even had an ugly Christmas sweater competition. The highlight of the party was a game in which each person had 5 minutes to prepare a holiday themed snack. The team member then presented their holiday snack and 3 judges assigned scores. You can check out the winner of the holiday snack challenge in the picture below! The team also took a holiday photo opportunity to show off their festive holiday attire.

 The Outreach and Early College team want to wish the entire BC family a joyous and happy holiday season!

Executive Office Holiday Fun

Our Executive Office team also got into the holiday spirit this week during our Zoom meeting.

I especially loved Catherine Rangel‘s background, where she made our Vice President of Student Affairs,
Zav Dadabhoy (and huge Green Bay Packers fan), into a Raiders-supporting Elf on the Shelf.

Winter Campus Closure & Spring 2021

Bakersfield College’s operational winter closure will begin Monday, December 21, 2020, and offices will remain closed through Friday, January 1, 2021. Services will resume regular operating hours on Monday, January 4, 2021. 

But don’t worry, our Student Information Desk will be open for limited hours on select dates to continue to assist students during the closure. Staff will be available December 21-23 and 28-30 from 10AM to 2PM.

Returning and new students are encouraged to connect for assistance with enrolling for the spring 2021 semester. Enrollment is now open and courses begin the week of January 16, 2021.

Visit the Student Information Desk!

And check out these great new offerings at BC – don’t forget, you can connect with the Student Information Desk to sign up!

Spring Back To College 

Project HireUp has added a couple more no-cost skills certificates for this Spring! Basic Internet Skills, Customer Relations, and Digital Marketing for Small Business will be offered this spring. All courses are offered online and run 2-4 weeks, 4-5 hours per day.

Learn more at Back To College.

President’s Virtual Forum: PSYCB61 NC

This week, we had the last President’s Virtual Forum of the semester. On Wednesday, we heard about a new non-credit course offering, PSYC B61NC: Psychological Resilience Skills Training. This new course will help all employees have the mental capacity tools needed when confronted with traumatic and stressful events.

We heard from Helen Acosta, Rich McCrow, David Riess, and Isaias Hernandez. You can see all their videos on the COVID-19 Resources page on the BC website.

Here’s a clip from Isaias Hernandez:

3 Renegades Picked for Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center Internmatch Program

This semester, the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center selected three Bakersfield College Renegades to join a group of students currently enrolled at various Central Valley California Community Colleges to participate in the Internmatch program. Congratulations to Isabel Alcocer, Grisel Martinez, and Felipe Nebesyj!

The opportunity is organized by Alese Campbell, Central Valley and Mother Lode Regional Director of Employer Engagement Business and Entrepreneurship. In collaboration with Campbell, several Bakersfield College students have already participated in this internship for two consecutive semesters.

Norma Rojas-Mora Featured in COVID-19 Task Force Videos

BC Community Relations Director Norma Rojas-Mora has been featured in several videos encouraging Bakersfield residents to practice social distancing. The campaign is part of the Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force, a partnership between Kern County Public Health and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The task force also launched a health and wellness hotline this week to help individuals dealing with COVID-related stress. Proud of the work you are doing Jay Tamsi.

In addition to being featured in the 30-second ad spot, Norma also made a testimonial in Spanish for the partnership.

A Better BC: Photos from Measure J

On Thursday, December 10, Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Mike Giacomini and Food Service Manager Fidel Cabuena went through a socially-distanced tour of the new Campus Center, Science and Engineering building, and the second phase of renovations to Memorial Stadium. Earl Parsons collected photos of the tour, and the full gallery is available to view on Smugmug.

For more information about the progress of our Measure J projects, please visit the A Better BC website.

Here are some highlights from the tour:

A painter puts the first layers of coating on the BC sign
Fidel Cabuena and Mike Giacomini pose at the third floor of the new Campus Center
The construction crew is busy at work putting the finishing touches on the third floor convention hall,
which will have a full catering kitchen built in.

An exterior view of the Campus Center coming from the Library.

Spotted on Social Media

Matt Jones shared a new art project he’s working on called Daily Discern & Draw using everyday objects:

Sondra Keckley has a cozy view of her fireplace:

The Student Success & Equity Team, Kara McDonald, Abraham Castillo, Isabel Castaneda, Maria Wright and Stephanie Vega had some fun with Lesley Bonds:

The Jones Art Gallery also shared some great art this week. This piece is from the Panorama Invitational. It was created by Savannah Rosas of Foothill High:


BC Athletics Nike Team Store

BC Athletics Nike Team Store

BC Athletics has launched the Nike Renegade Team Store in conjunction with Eastbay, their team uniform supplier.

To access the store click the image or the link below. Items available for purchase include T-shirts, Long-Sleeves, Polo’s, Hoodies, Sweatshirts and more in both men’s and women’s sizes.

Now is the time to show your Renegade pride and get that piece of Nike BC Renegade team gear you’ve always wanted. The store is open from now until Jan. 1, 2021. Items will ship once the store closes.

All proceeds from sales will directly benefit BC Athletics.

BC Athletics Nike Team Store:

Check out some of the merchandise below:

Coach Brett Clark Steps Down

This last week our Head Wrestling Coach, Brett Clark announced that he is stepping down from his position leading the program to pursue opportunities to teach and coach out-of-state. Coach Clark has been a constant strength for the program the last seven years as his teams have won three conference titles and he was named conference coach of the year each of those three seasons as well.

After being a BC student athlete in the 90’s, Coach Clark returned to campus as both an assistant and then head wrestling coach to guide and mentor countless Renegade student athletes, with many of them going on to win individual conference and state championships.

We are sad to see such a good coach leave the Renegade family, but we wish Coach Clark and his family all the best in their new endeavors.

As always, Go Gades!

Best buddies Neo & Bessie:


That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC discusses the Future of Learning and more

Last night, the FDA approved the first Covid-19 vaccine for the United States. The US is now the 6th country to approve this vaccine, and millions of our most vulnerable Americans could start receiving it within days. It is a bright spot in this holiday season that has been completely changed by the pandemic.

And so, I wanted to share another bright spot with all of you:

Astronomy professor and planetarium director Nick Strobel recorded this masterpiece, with words by R.G. Huff, updating a timeless Christmas carol for the time of Covid:

But even as this vaccine promises to begin putting us on a path back to another new normal, we must remain vigilant. There is still a long, hard road before the vaccine is widely available, and we must continue to maintain our social distancing and wear masks to do our part during this pandemic.

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi

Dr. Brij Bhambi wrote this piece for the Bakersfield Californian focusing on the Covid-19 vaccine and what we all must do to stay safe until enough of us are vaccinated.

“As we close 2020, the holiday season and family festivities invite. Pandemic fatigue peaks. Virus spreads relentlessly. The vaccine promises to bridge the troubled waters, but restlessness refuses to walk the bridge to safety on the other side. Science can’t triumph with failed adoption.

“Sacred lives can be saved by compliance to common sense. We won’t discuss masks on the other side of COVID-19. What’s a few more weeks among friends we know and undiscovered friendships that await the random walk of life. Health care workers, law enforcement, firefighters, grocery workers, elderly and sick are begging for your cooperation during this homestretch.”

I invite you all to visit the blog that Dr. Bhambi and I are collaborating on: where we are discussing issues of importance to our community.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 12, 2020 … a great day to be a Renegade.

As we move deeper into this holiday season, I thought I would share videos from BC’s performing arts program over the last several years. Here is a piece from the July 2019 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This song has been in my head for over a week now.

Fall 2020 Finals Week

It took a lot of hard work and innovative thinking, but we’ve all managed to work together and finish a full semester online. Our faculty and staff, and especially our students who persevered to have a successful Fall 2020, should all be applauded for what they’ve managed to accomplish. I hope you have a well-rested and well-deserved winter break and return reinvigorated and full of fresh new ideas about how to serve our students online during Spring 2021.

The Future of Learning: ACCJC Conversations Among Thought Leaders

Panelists from Day 3 of the ACCJC Future of Learning Seminar Series on Dec. 7.
Row 1: Stephanie Droker and Sonya Christian; row 2: Marty Alvarado and Aisha Lowe; row 3: Deb Bushway.

The second week of our ACCJC conference featuring leaders in education, civics and policy wrapped up on Dec. 7 and 8, with hundreds of participants from across the state tuning in to #OccupyLearning. The conference was spread out over four days, with two one-hour sessions each day.

For the first session on Day 3, December 7, we had Deb Bushway, President and CEO of Northwestern Health Sciences University, to talk about competency-based education with Vice Chancellor Aisha Lowe and our BC facilitator Erica Menchaca. For the second session of Day 3, Concentric Sky CEO Wayne Skipper engaged in a discussion with Bill Moseley about Badgr, micro-credentialing, and its implementation within guided pathways.

We closed out the seminar series on Day 4, starting with Arizona State University president Michael Crow, who answered questions from Southwestern College professor Randy Beach about the ambitious plan for research universities that Crow describes in The Fifth Wave: The Evolution of American Higher Education. After Michael Crow, we heard an important student perspective from Sam Clarke and Connie Jiang of Deep Springs College, a school based on a remote cattle ranch and farm where students take on a direct, multi-year responsibility for a self-sustaining community, including roles in the administration and shared governance of the college, all while earning an Associate of Arts degree. One of the most unique colleges in the ACCJC system, Deep Springs College’s mission is to “prepare young people for a life of service to humanity”. Nick Strobel was the facilitator for both sessions.

Here’s a taste of the conversations we had over the past few weeks, from Deb Bushway on Day 3:

And a clip from the conversation with students Sam Clarke and Connie Jiang on Day 4:

You can find information – including videos – from all 4 days of programming at

CCC Women’s Caucus

Lande Ajose

The California Community College Women’s Caucus started as the system’s youngest caucus this summer before becoming the caucus with the most members in the Community College League of California. The Women’s Caucus hosted its second webinar on Monday, December 7, encouraging women in higher education to harness their agency and leadership in supporting students, many of whom are mothers, with housing and food insecurities during the pandemic.  All of this thanks to the leadership of KCCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, who is already making her mark statewide.

The first keynote speaker of the event was Dee Dee Myers, a political analyst who was the first woman in history to serve as the White House Press Secretary under Bill Clinton’s first term in 1992. From a young age, Myers developed an appreciation for community colleges through her family’s connection with College of the Canyons, and she encouraged women to recognize their value and accomplishments within their organizations.

The second keynote speaker was Lande Ajose, a senior policy advisor of higher education for the office of Governor Newsom. Ajose spoke about how important it is for people in under-represented spaces to use their voice and make sure their diverse perspective is heard and valued.

For more information about the Women’s Caucus, including how to join the caucus before our members-only meeting in January where we’ll be approving our bylaws, visit the CCC Womens’ Caucus website.

You can also find more videos from all the webinars we’ve held so far.

BC Now Offering Physical Therapy Assistant Course in Spring 2021 

Registration is now open for a brand-new course, PHTA B50: Introduction to PTA (Physical Therapy Assistant), designed to teach students about the role of a physical therapist in a healthcare team or a variety of clinical settings. The course will also include history, ethics, and values of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Students who take this course will learn basic concepts of physical therapy interventions and the evidence-based practice model along with the role and duties required to become a physical therapist assistant to determine if they are good match to apply for the program. The course will include examining areas of diversity, patient privacy and HIPAA, cultural competency as it pertains to physical therapy. 

Suzanne Oesch

“There is an immediate demand for Physical Therapist Assistants currently in Kern County,” says Suzanne Oesch, PT, DPT Professor of Health and Physical Education and Director of BC’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

“I’m so excited that BC has started the process to offer a program for students who want to stay local and get an affordable degree that allows them the opportunity to become a licensed physical therapist assistant and provide physical therapy services under the supervision of a physical therapist. I’m so eager to share not only my knowledge from 21 years of experience in the field at various clinics throughout Kern County, but also my experience as a BC alumnus who went on to fulfill her dreams and have a successful local career.”

According to the Employment Development Department State of California, (EDD), the demand for Physical Therapist Assistants is expected to grow much faster than the average growth across all occupations.  Jobs for Physical Therapist Assistants are expected to increase by 30.8% or 1600 jobs projected between 2016 and 2026, for the state of California. Specifically in Kern County demand for Physical Therapist Assistants is expected to increase 37.5 percent between 2016 and 2026 in Kern County.

BC Presents for CLP’s “Problem Solving: Moving Dual Enrollment Online” Webinar Series

This last Thursday, Bakersfield College was invited to close out Career Ladders Project’s (CLP) “Problem Solving: Moving Dual Enrollment Online” Webinar Series with a presentation on the work BC has done to connect dual enrollment to Guided Pathways through our Early College initiative.

Our Program Director for Early College, Kylie Campbell, and our Executive Director of Outreach and Early College, Steven Watkin, presented together to over 115 attendees on BC’s strategic scale-up from “random acts of dual enrollment” to intentional pathways offered to high school students starting as early as the 9th grade, and how we included our partners in this work. Kylie and Steve were able to answer questions from dual enrollment personnel from throughout California on how Early College has been implemented into both our academic departments and our student services on campus.

It is amazing to share how Early College helps us achieve the Chancellor’s Vision for Success, and how continued support and growth of this program will help us reach more students in our community–bringing them to BC and to setting them up for sfuture degree completion and success.

Thank you, CLP for including us in this amazing opportunity to share and collaborate with our community college and high school colleagues from throughout the state!

You can visit CLP’s website to view Kylie and Steve’s presentation and other great resources for student support and success.

Motivational Speaker Advises Umoja Students on how to PIVOT

Terrance Minnoy spoke to Umoja students on ways to adjust to and make the most of this COVID-induced virtual environment. Drawing on a basketball analogy, he themed the three-part series P.I.V.O.T. He explained that athletes do that “to improve their position, clarity, and vision to avoid roadblocks and barriers.”

During fall semester, the Umoja program offered weekly meetings for students. Called Indabas (a Swahili word for important meeting with important people), they ranged from workshops on adjusting to college, learning online, overcoming writer’s block, combating stress, to motivational interactive talks.

Over three sessions, Minnoy covered P – purpose, I – Intentionally invest in yourselves, V – vision clarification, O – opportunistic mindset, and T -take action.

Timothy, an Umoja student, appreciated how Minnoy shared his story of having suffered a stroke and having to learn to walk again, some of which he chronicled in Indifferent Strokes: Embracing Life’s Adversities.

With P – purpose, Minnoy encouraged students to think on what their assignment is. Students said that I – investing in oneself can vary from taking care of one’s mental health to physical health to getting an education to being involved in one’s community. In V- vison, Minnoy discussed the importance of visualizing one’s goals and strategizing to develop an O – opportunistic mindset.

Alexis commented: “I’m letting go of that victim mindset and being more opportunistic and open to new opportunities.”

Minnoy finished with discussing ways to T – take action, such as start small, take responsibility, and don’t focus on the “what if’s.”

When asked what she got out of the series, Hortense said, “I’m going to be more responsible for myself and hold myself accountable.”

Umoja Community is a program started by Dr. Paula L. Parks and connected to a state-wide organization Umoja includes courses with an African-American focus, mentoring, counseling to keep students on track to graduate and transfer, college visits, and academic and cultural activities. The following courses are offered this spring: Psychology b5, Astronomy b2, English b1b, Communications b1/Lib b1, and Math b22. Contact Dr. Parks at about registration information.

Catching up with BC Alumni: T. Johnson

This week local Alumni and Renegade champion, T. Johnson shared what Bakersfield College means to her: LEGACY! Love you T.Johnson!

What does Bakersfield College mean to you? Share your BC story at!

In The News

John Means to be inducted into CSUB Hall of Fame

John Means

John Means, vice chancellor of educational services for the Kern Community College District, will be inducted into the CSUB Hall of Fame this February.

He is a son of Taft who went on to become an environmental justice advocate, leader in elected and party politics, and innovator of programs that expand educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.

Means is vice chancellor of educational services for the Kern Community College District, overseeing a wide range of programs to help its more than 30,000 pupils succeed.

Means got his start in community service alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and when he was on the Bakersfield City Council he secured funds for the bike path, and made politics more inclusive.

Means spent his early educational career helping Kern High School District students grapple with emotional and behavioral problems and teaching part time at Bakersfield College and CSUB. In 1978 he began teaching full time at BC, where he also developed the Central Valley’s first center to mainstream infants and kids with disabilities.

Means pivoted to economic and workforce development programs. As dean of El Camino College in L.A.’s South Bay, he helped high schoolers transition to college, started a Project Lead the Way program and extended vocational programs to more female students.

He returned to Kern’s college district to become associate chancellor of economic and workforce development, where he pushed high school-to-college dual enrollment programs. Today, Means pays particular attention to helping Latinos, single mothers and students with disabilities succeed in higher ed.

Science Sundays features BC faculty

Did you catch Timothy Plett from the BC Physical Science department on 12ABC’s Science Sundays?

He explained how ovens work. Check it out at

Community Voices: Cheryl Scott

BC Foundation Director Cheryl Scott wrote this piece in the Bakersfield Californian asking our community to consider giving the gift of education this holiday season.

“A quick visit to the Foundation’s website shows some of the many avenues for supporting students’ dreams of achieving a college degree. One fund is the Renegade Pantry, which helps ensure students have access to food, even when their funds run short. Similarly, the BC Student Emergency fund was created to provide funding (through a referral process) to students finding themselves in a financial bind that may cause them to choose between education and another, competing, priority. Funds like these grow and make an impact even when the smallest of contributions are made. Every dollar makes a difference!”

Spotted on Social Media

Jennifer Garrett shared this video from the BC Choirs:

Communications faculty Helen Acosta shared this photo on Facebook, making the best of life with Zoom:

The BC Library team – Kirk Russell, Faith Bradham, Elisabeth Sundby, Mindy Wilmot, Sondra Keckley, and Laura Luiz, signed off for the semester by joining together virtually:

The Jones Art Gallery shared another beautiful piece of artwork from a BC Student. This one is from Taylor Rodman, from the Art B46 Advanced Photo class with Kris Stallworth:

And Olivia Garcia shared this fun meme about the end of finals week:


This Week in Renegade Athletics History

Eight years ago this week – December 8th, 2012 – Bakersfield College hosted City College of San Francisco in the CCCAA State Football Championship in Memorial Stadium. That is a day not soon forgotten in the minds of faithful Renegade fans. 17,000+ red and white clad fans waving towels and cheering ‘Go Gades!’ at the top of their lungs – it was a sight and experience not soon to be forgotten. I’m sure most of you were at that game and part of the crowd cheering on our ‘Gades as they routed CCSF 35-14. That crowd was by far the largest for any junior college football game in the last decade, maybe even the last two decades!

Our current Athletics Communications Director Brandon Urry, who was not a Renegade at the time, attended that game and took these pictures long before he became one of us. We can’t wait for our Renegades to be back out on the field and for the opportunity to make memories like these.

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC – A beacon of light during difficult times

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 5, 2020 … a great day to be a Renegade.

BC Receives Bank of America Jobs Grant

BC received a $56,000 grant from Bank of America to support a new pilot project for students in our Early College Public Health Program. The project has been developed in partnership with The Centric Foundation and is  focused on addressing health related issues and career pathways in communities of need. 

Starting in ninth grade, students enter this four-year program with curriculum addressing issues such as obesity, heart disease and heart health, leading them on a path towards earning an Associate’s Degree Transfer in Public Health by the time they graduate high school.

You can read the full story at the Bakersfield College news site.

Giving Tuesday

Aricia Leighton

Thank you to Aricia Leighton for providing this write-up:

As you may have seen in the blog last week, the programs for Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) invited BC employees to support our CARE and CalWORKs students this  holiday season by adopting a family or donating through the BC Foundation.

In years past, the programs have a large party for the families with Santa and opening gifts. You can see pictures from last year in the my Raising the Bar post under “Tis the Season for Giving.”  Due to the pandemic and our concern for keeping everyone safe, the CARE and CalWORKs Holiday Celebration will be a Drive-thru affair this year. Families will be provided with a hot meal and the gifts collected through the adopt-a-family program.

Seventy-five students are participating in the CARE/CalWORKS Drive Thru Holiday Celebration with a total of 166 children receiving gifts this holiday season thanks to the generosity of faculty, staff, and community members. Fifty-six BC employees participated in the “Adopt a Family” program. That does not include the amazing staff that donated to our Foundation’s account. CARE/CalWORKS also raised $1600 to support this program from generous direct donations to the BC Foundation and purchases made through Amazon Smile.  
Despite the social distancing and safety measures the pandemic requires, families will go home with presents and a certificate for a holiday meal. The CARE and CalWORKs programs would like to acknowledge all the donors who made this event possible. Your amazing generosity will make a lasting impression on our students’ children. I’m so proud to be a part of such a giving community! We Are BC! 

The Future of Learning: ACCJC Conversations

Row 1, left to right: Stephanie Droker, Sonya Christian, Eloy Oakley, and David French
Row 2, left to right: Tia Brown McNair, Kathleen Burke, Ned Doffoney, and Michael Zimmerman

The first half of our seminar series hosted by ACCJC was a huge success, and we hope you’ll join me and ACCJC President Stephanie Droker for the final two days on Monday, Dec. 7 and Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Day 1 began on Wednesday with a moving introduction by Chancellor Eloy Oakley inviting us to dive deep into our series of substantive discussions about the future of education. ACCJC Commissioner Kathleen Burke moderated the first session with Tia Brown McNair, author of “From Equity Talk to Equity Walk”, to engage in a dialogue about how to weave equity ideals into the fabric of higher education’s curriculum and administration while BC’s Jessica Wojtysiak fielded questions from the Zoom chat window. For the second session of the day, Commissioner Ned Doffoney spoke with David French, author of the book “Divided We Fall”, to get a deeper understanding of America’s polarization problem and its implications on higher education. Manny Mourtzanos fielded the questions from the chat for the David French session.

Here’s a short video (3:01) to give you a taste of our conversation with David French:

On Day 2, we had “Degrees That Matter” author Natasha Jankowski on the seminar series for a wide-reaching discussion about assessment with Dolores Davison of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges and Cheryl Aschenbach of Lassen Community College. Jessica Wojtysiak fielded the audience questions for a second day in a row for Natasha Jankowski’s section. Day 2 ended with Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion at UCLA, who spoke with University of Hawaii professor Sally Pestana about gaining a deeper understanding of community college students and their life experiences. Craig Hayward helped us close out the Ceciia Rios-Aguilar session with questions from Zoom.

I hope you’ll join us next week for the second half of our Future of Learning Seminar Series. Day 3 begins at 2 p.m. on December 7 with Deb Bushway, President and CEO of Northwestern Health Sciences University, who will be talking about competency-based education with Vice Chancellor Aisha Lowe and our BC facilitator Erica Menchaca. Our second session on December 7 is with Concentric Sky CEO Wayne Skipper, who will engage in a discussion with BC’s Dean of Academic Technology Bill Moseley about Badgr, the future of microcredentialing, and its implementation within guided pathways.

We’ll close out the seminar series with our last two sessions on Dec. 8. In the first session, Arizona State University President Michael Crow and Southwestern College professor Randy Beach will break down Crow’s ambitious plan for research universities described in “The Fifth Wave: The Evolution of American Higher Education.” For the final session of the series, we’ll hear an important student perspective from Sam Clarke and Connie Jiang of Deep Springs College, a school based on a remote cattle ranch and farm where students take a direct, year-long responsibility for a self-sustaining community while earning an Associate of Arts degree. Deep Springs College’s mission is to “prepare young people for a life of service to humanity”.

If you haven’t registered for “The Future of Learning: Conversations Among ACCJC Thought Leaders”, visit the registration page today and join the conversation. You can find out more information about the event on the ACCJC website or BC’s conference page.

President’s Forum: Contact Tracing

This week, we continued the President’s Virtual Forum series with a discussion on the free, non-credit Public Health course on Contact Tracing. BC has opened additional sections of this two-week online course, PBHS B99: Infectious Disease Contact Tracing.

Courses will begin December 7, January 4, and January 25. The course is open to any participants who wish to enroll and there are no prerequisites. For guidance and support with enrolling, please visit BC’s online Student Information Desk on Zoom from 9 am – 6 pm, Monday-Thursday.

Here is a short video (2:35) of Public Health Science Program Director Charles Daramola describing the course:

Richard McCrow

And be sure to check out the Community Voices piece that Dean Richard McCrow wrote this week:

“Last week, BC gained approval for a new Infectious Disease Contact Tracing course which is available at no cost for students and the community. This training in COVID-19 and infectious diseases will provide the skills needed for organizations to gain a deeper understanding of this pandemic and implement practical applications to prevent the further spread of this virus. Attendees will also gain awareness of state protocols and necessary actions after testing positive. It will provide all students and lifelong learners with much needed expertise and understanding to protect us during this critical gap to our receiving immunizations.”

Virtual Concert: Becoming Us

On Monday, BC’s Choirs premiered “Becoming Us”, an original production celebrating BC students, faculty and staff and the challenges we’ve all had to face during the COVID-19 pandemic. The full performance is available online via YouTube and features Jennifer Garrett, Patrick Bender, BC voice professors Ken Burdick, Caley Mayhall, and Christina Parnell, as well as flute instructor Tracy Harris.

BC Foundation Releases December 2020 Newsletter

From email from Heather Pennella:

Welcome to December! The crew of the BC Foundation is excited to share the second volume of our newsletter, PANORAMA, with you all! In this edition, you can read up on the efforts of the BC Alumni Association, learn more about Chevron’s ongoing support of Bakersfield College, and discover a local family that celebrates a legacy of “unity through giving.”  Thank you for your attention and enjoy!!!

Thank you to BC Foundation Director Cheryl Scott, Alumni and Donor Relations Manager Heather Pennella, and the entire BC Foundation team, for all you do for our students and alumni!

Cheryl Scott & Heather Pennella

A Better BC Update: Memorial Stadium Scoreboard and Lights

Every day, we get one step closer to building A Better BC for our students. KCCD Project Manager Nicholas Hernandez provided us photos of Columbo Construction testing the new lights at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night. The second phase of our Memorial Stadium project, which includes updates to the seating, concessions and PA box, is almost complete. 

The construction team also tested our beautiful new LCD screen displaying an animated graphic of the BC logo.

Keep an eye on this space in the next coming weeks for more photos from Memorial Stadium and the new Campus Center.

Spotted on Social Media

Olivia Garcia from our History department shared a public service video she made for the Latino Covid-19 Task Force. Olivia is a member of the task force, as well as the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

I have so loved checking the BCSGA Instagram feed for their quotes. This week’s quote from Voltaire is particularly uplifting:

BC Librarian Sondra Keckley is also spreading an uplifting message as she gets into the holiday spirit:

And check out our BC Nursing students! Level 1 RN students celebrating their last day of clinical. Congratulations, Renegades, and thank you for all you do!


Former Renegade Banks Names to CFL All-Decade Team

Former Renegade Football standout Brandon Banks was just named to the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) All-Decade team (2010-2019.) He was named to the First-Team All-Decade as a special team’s returner and to the Second-Team All-Decade as a receiver. In 2019 Banks was also named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player at the league annual Shaw Awards. 

Banks, originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, played at Bakersfield College from 2006-2007. In 2007 he helped lead Bakersfield to a No. 1 national ranking, a 12-1 record on the season and a berth in the Southern California championship game.

Banks still holds the BC football receiving record from the 2007 season in which he had 93 receptions for 1396 yards and 15 touchdowns. This is a phenomenal award for Brandon and we are proud to call him a Renegade! Click below to see the video the CFL produced on him called ‘My Story’


That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Thankful for BC. Thanksgiving 2020

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we fully in the holiday season.

I know that many of you, like me, are finding that holidays in 2020 are a little bit different and maybe a little difficult. But I hope that you, like me, are finding extra reasons to be thankful this year. Our community has shown great resilience and compassion, innovation and sacrifice, all in the name of the greater good and overcoming adversity.

I took time to look over my blog posts from throughout this year, as well as those from the past few Thanksgivings (2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016), and as I did I grabbed a few photos that make me thankful for everyone at Bakersfield College and beyond this year:

I am deeply grateful for how our Renegade community has responded to the challenges we have faced this year.

And speaking of gratitude –

Jack Hernandez’s Community Voices piece, To be or not to be healed, had a great message about thankfulness and gratitude:

“Gratitude is part of humility. Gratitude expands our awareness of how much we owe to others for our flourishing and well being. Not only to our families and friends, but to those who grow our food, serve us coffee, deliver our mail, repair our cars, drive our busses. Gratitude expands to the smiles of neighbors that contribute to our happiness. Even more, we have gratitude for living in a country that gives us freedom of conscience, freedom to express our beliefs and freedom to select our leaders, local, state and national. Our gratitude must, then, include all who live in this nation, all who contribute to its greatness.”

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, November 28, 2020 …
a great day to be a Renegade.


Virtual Choir Concert on Monday

From an email from Jennifer Garrett:

“On November 30th at 7:00 p.m. the Bakersfield College Choirs will present a Virtual Concert entitled, ‘Becoming Us.’ It will air over YouTube Premiere. ….. The choirs have rehearsed almost entirely over Zoom with a few brief socially distant outdoor rehearsals by some of the choirs so you can imagine it has been an almost insurmountable challenge. …..” 

“We hope that you will take 40 minutes of your time on Monday to sit with your family and watch this concert……”

For more information check out the Facebook event or the Bakersfield College event page – we will update that page with the link to view the concert.

Check out the piece in the Bakersfield Californian

Panorama Creative Music Summit

Tune in December 2 at 2:30 pm for the final installment of the Panorama Creative Music Summit.

Virtuoso jazz and funk bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma from Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time will be featured. He has also collaborated with Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Pharoah Sanders, Grover Washington Jr. and more. Here’s a sample:

Catch the live stream at

You can also see all the past sessions archived at

Levan Center — Art, Architecture and Archetypes

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Reggie Williams, Ronnie Wrest, Krista Moreland, Rae Anne Kumelos

The Future of Learning: ACCJC Conversations Among Thought Leaders

Please join us starting next week for a series of important conversations about the future of learning. Visit the registration page to submit your information and hear from some of our amazing speakers, who are all thought leaders in the world of higher education and policy. 

With eight sessions over the course of four days, there will be something for everyone to learn from these conversations:

Day 1: Tuesday, December 2. 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PST

Tia Brown McNair: VP for Diversity, Equity, & Student Success & Executive Director for the TRHT Campus Centers, AAC&U; Author of From Equity Talk to Equity Walk

David French, Senior editor at The Dispatch and a columnist for Time; Author of Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation

Day 2: Wednesday, December 3rd. 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PST

Natasha Jankowski, Executive Director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment; Author of Degrees That Matter

Dr. Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, Associate Dean of Equity & Inclusion at UCLA; Author of Funds of Knowledge in Higher Education

Day 3: Monday, December 7th. 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PST

Deb Bushway, President and CEO of Northwestern Health Sciences University; Author of A Leader’s Guide to Competency-Based Education

Wayne Skipper, CEO of Concentric Sky, who worked with us to build the Program Mapper and creator of the Badgr micro-credentialing tool

Day 4: Tuesday, December 8th. 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PST

Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University; Author of The Fifth Wave: The Evolution of American Higher Education

Sam Clark & Connie Jiang, Students at Deep Springs College

Future of Fuels

Last week, I wrote about the most recent webinar in our interdisciplinary partnership in energy

Today, I’m sharing another video from that webinar.

Kelly Murrillo, Project Manager of Marketing Development, SoCalGas, spoke about advances in biogas technology:

The next major event as part of the Energy Technology Transfer and Workforce Development partnership will be the Energy Summit on December 5 at 6 p.m., live on KGET.

Learning Together

Last week, I wrote about our third campus-wide “Learning Together” event.

The event discussed two academic journal articles:

  • “Postsecondary Equity Through the Lens of Policy Change”, published through the academic journal Change.
  • “When Pursuing Diversity, Victory is Hard to Define” published in Chronicle of Higher Education

Today, I’m sharing Nick Strobel’s presentation:

Virtual Seminar on Student Progression and Completion

Last week, we also held the second virtual seminar in our Strategic Directions series helping us gear up for the renewal of our three-year Strategic Plan. This session focused on Student Progression and Completion.

Please check out this presentation from Kylie Campbell, Early College Program Director:

Archives Throwback: Table Set for Renaissance Feast

Around this time of year 39 years ago, the BC Drama and Food Services departments were preparing for a different kind of feast for the week after Thanksgiving. Renegade Rip staff writer Greg Goodsell covered the 1981 Renaissance Extravaganza, where students and staff dressed in their best Elizabethan regalia to host a traditional banquet alongside performances of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and “Merchant of Venice”. The event was also covered on December 1, 1981 in the Bakersfield Californian.

Hank Webb, the BC drama instructor and coordinator of the event states, “The project will be to successfully recreate the feeling of the British Renaissance. Over 100 costumes are to be utilized. The feast will include roast suckling pig (complete with an apple in its mouth), chicken, fish, beef, fresh bread one can tear apart with one’s hands…”, he laughs. “As you can probably imagine, silverware will be optional, although forks and bibs will be provided for the more fastidious.”

Read more on the Bakersfield College website.

Spotted on social media

Kalina Hill shared a thoughtful moment from one of her runs this week:

Norma Rojas-Mora shared this photo of a recent campus visit checking out the new construction:

Krista Moreland‘s cat Immogen is getting so big!

Olivia Garcia shared this picture of her dogs:

Lesley Bonds shared this view of her work-from-home space:

Check out this beautiful photo from The Jones Gallery. It’s from student Daniel Rodriguez in Kris Stallworth‘s Spring 2020 Art B17 class. It’s called “Feel the Wind”:

And I loved this photo from the Radiologic Technology department. Happy Thanksgiving!

Renegade Athletics Corner

2019 CCCCCTCA Scholar Athlete Team

Congrats to three of our cross country student athletes Adolfo Escudero, Elias Artega and Elias Martinez for being named to the 2019 California Community College Cross Country and Track Coaches Association (CCCCCTCA) Scholar Athlete Team. To make the team To make the team cross-country student athletes must complete a minimum of 24 academic units with a 3.5 GPA or higher. This is the second year in arrow that Adolfo has made the team. This is a well-deserved recognition for all three of these students. Go ‘Gades!


That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

At BC….The Sky Isn’t The Limit

“The Sky isn’t the Limit,” photo by Sebastian Juarez for the Spring 2020 Art B16 Digital Photography class taught by Kris Stallworth.

#BCTalent #BCArt #BCInspiration #BCSpirit

The skies this week were full of clouds, color and movement … here are a few photos that I snapped during my Neo walks. And before you sink into the photos, take a few minutes to listen to this great Joni Mitchell song – Both Sides Now. The 2000 version.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, November 21, 2020 …
a great day to be a Renegade.

BC Recognized for ADT Program

On Thursday, the Campaign for College Opportunity recognized Bakersfield College as a Champion of Higher Education. 

Thank you to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Michele Siqueiros of Campaign for College Opportunity, who were on the webinar to announce the recognition. Ten years ago, 2010, Alex Padilla introduced the transfer landmark legislation SB 1440.

Over the last five years Bakersfield College has seen an 800% increase in ADT awards, quadrupled Black student completion, and achieved enrollment-completion parity among Latino/a students.

We are BC! Thank you to the BC Transfer Team.

EOPS Annual Association Conference

EOPS, CARE and NextUp programs had their annual association conference early November.

Our Bakersfield EOPS college team had the opportunity to present on the topic of Engaging with Students in the Virtual Environment.

During the virtual conference, our very own Bakersfield College graduate, Kyle Campbell, was awarded the California Community College Extended Opportunity Programs and Services Association (CCCEOPSA) scholarship.

To wrap up the conference the BC EOPS team won a photo contest.

Also shout out to the BC EOPS team for volunteering to moderate the virtual breakout sessions and the conference help desk.

Kris Tiner published in The Aesthetics of Imperfection

Music faculty member Kris Tiner was recently published in The Aesthetics of Imperfection in Music and the Arts, a collection of essays from Bloomsbury Academic edited by Andy Hamilton and Lara Pearson. Tiner’s chapter “Expanding the Ideal: Systemic music as a dialogue of becoming” originated from a presentation he gave at Durham University in England in 2016. It explores the relationship between improvisation and composition in musical performance.

Here is the extract:

“The classical ideal of music composition involves the gradual perfection of an inspiration, the painstaking process of bringing a concept to completion. In contrast, a common theme in literature and research on improvisational music is the value of spontaneous creation emerging from higher, ideal states of mind. This essay examines the history and practice of systemic music as a method of applying conceptual parameters to improvisational performance in order to bring together the “interpenetrating opposites” of composition and improvisation in an expansive dialogue of becoming, where the continuously evolving creative process of a musician or ensemble is valued over the production of individual works.”

Umoja at Black Student Leadership Summit

Dr. Paula L. Parks served as a panelist at the Florida African American Student Association (FAASA) fall leadership conference. The organization is the statewide organization of Black student associations at 2- and 4-year colleges.

The panel was entitled “Building and Sustaining Black Student Organizations in Turbulent Times Like These.”

Umoja peer mentor Alexis Brown provided a student perspective. Dr. Parks, English professor, is the Umoja Community coordinator and Umoja Club advisor.

Panelists affirmed the need for Black Student Unions (or African American Student Unions) at the college level because students need the academic support, cultural grounding, leadership opportunities, and connections with each other and with Black faculty and staff. This need hasn’t changed in the 44 years since FAASA was founded.

Students also spoke to the “illusion of inclusion” that they saw at their institutions. Colleges may showcase pictures of students of color on the college website and in brochures, but many African-American students feel as if they are only tolerated – not welcomed, appreciated, valued, or at the decision-making table.

Very grateful for Dr. Paula Parks, Steve Watkin for their leadership. Also thank you to community leaders Michael Bowers, Keith Wolaridge, T Johnson, and others. We are BC! We are Bakersfield!

BC Marching Arts Receives KFHC Community Grant

Some members of the BC “Renegade” Drumline

As the BC Drumline plans to safely return to rehearsals, masks aren’t the only PPE they’ll be sporting. Thanks to Kern Family Health Care’s Community Grant program and Etymotic Education’s Hear for a Lifetime campaign, earplugs were able to be purchased for students and staff of our Marching Arts ensembles to continue to promote hearing health.

Eight of our current BC Drumline students were the first to receive their ETY Plugs when they came to campus for a socially distanced performance at a “get out the vote” caravan. The drumline took the opportunity to talk about hearing health and the importance of limiting exposure to the intense sounds that are a part of marching music.

Drumline student Salvador Fabian, sporting his new Etymotic earplugs

We can’t wait to distribute the remaining earplugs once our ensembles are able to safely return to campus. Thanks again to Kern Family Health Care for their support of our BC students and our community!

Adopt a Family this Holiday Season

From an email the CARE and CalWorks Programs:

“Dear Faculty, Staff, and Friends,

The Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) programs will be hosting a Drive-thru Holiday Celebration this year. CARE and CalWORKs serves BC students who are also parents, with CARE parents being single head of household. Both programs are designed to promote student educational success by offering specialized services to parents receiving public assistance (CalWORKs/TANF/Tribal TANF) to increase wage earning power and lead to self-sufficiency.

In the spirit of the holiday season, we invite you to help us spread holiday cheer. Our goal is to ensure that the child(ren) of our CARE and CalWORKs students receive a gift from their wish list to open on the winter holiday. This year we will be providing families with a hot meal and the gifts collected from our “Adopt a Family” program. We want to thank everyone who has already registered to help. We still have 30 families who need to be adopted.”

To sign up to adopt a family, fill out the Adopt a Family Form online.

You can also contribute monetary donations through the Bakersfield College Foundation. Make your donation to “CARE/CalWORKs- Adopt a Family”.

Use Amazon Smile as you do your personal/holiday shopping this November/December. Visit, sign in to your Amazon account and select “Bakersfield College Foundation.” The Foundation will receive 0.5% of all eligible purchases made through!

Future of Fuels Webinar

Our interdisciplinary partnership in energy is building traction throughout the community, and we hosted our second webinar today on the Future of Fuels. We had a great panel of experts in research, policy and implementation of biofuels moderated by Stu Witt, the former CEO of Mojave Air and Space Port. Adam Bratis from NREL shared some information about research around bioenergy, using organic plant material to create everything from fuel to carbon fiber. Kelly Murillo from SoCalGas gave an overview of all the different technology used in processing clean biogas. Michael Carr is a manager of West Coast policy for Shell Oil company, and he shared some ongoing trends in carbon management. 

The next major event as part of the Energy Technology Transfer and Workforce Development partnership will be the Energy Summit on December 5 at 6 p.m., live on KGET.

Today, I’d like to share Adam’s presentation. It’s about 21 minutes long, and is filled with amazing information about the work being done at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory:

Virtual Seminar on Student Progression and Completion

Also on Tuesday, we held the second virtual seminar in our Strategic Directions series helping us gear up for the renewal of our three-year Strategic Plan. This session focused on Student Progression and Completion, and we had Kylie Campbell to talk about Early College, Krista Moreland to talk about Enrollment Management, Leo Ocampo on our 8+8 Week Classes, and Grace Commiso to talk about Starfish and the Student Information Desk. Thank you to all the participants in the webinar, and thank you to everyone for tuning in.

Check out Krisa Moreland’s presentation below:

Learning Together with the Library 

On Thursday, we had our third campus-wide “Learning Together” event. Presenters included Paula Parks and Nick Strobel.

This week, we discussed two academic journal articles:

  • “Postsecondary Equity Through the Lens of Policy Change”, published through the academic journal Change.
  • “When Pursuing Diversity, Victory is Hard to Define” published in Chronicle of Higher Education  

Please remember to view the libguide “Race and Cultural Competence” which is available at

Today, I’m sharing the Q&A session with Paula Parks and Mindy Wilmot from that discussion:

Levan Events

This week, there were also two virtual Levan Events.

“Deep Cuts and Conversations” featured Josh Ottum, Kris Tiner, and Reggie Williams listening to and breaking down some music.

“Civil Disobedience and Civil Unrest: Drawing Difficult Lines in Difficult Times” was presented by Pam Boyles, Gloria Dumler, Michael Harvath, and Erin Miller.

Love and Information

This weekend, the performing arts department presented a live Zoom play production of Caryl Churchill’s “Love and Information.”

BC Theatre students took on the challenge of performing live via Zoom Webinar, directly from their homes.

Thank you director Kimberly Chin, and the entire cast and crew, for innovating and finding ways to perform together!

Measure J Update

Gym and Field House Starting Construction Soon

Exciting news came in from the BC Facilities Team last week with the announcement that our new Gym and Field House had received final approval from the California Division of the State Architect, or DSA, the agency which provides oversight for construction of public school facilities. Construction on the project  is scheduled to begin on December 1. The timeline for the Gym and Field House has been pushed back due to DSA backcheck delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new anticipated date of completion of this project is February of 2023.

Spotted on Social Media

And speaking of our A Better BC construction, Academic Technology Dean Bill Moseley shared this photo of construction on campus this week:

Jenny Frank, Veterans Services Manager, shared this photo of her getting ready to talk to KGET about the services BC offers our veterans:

(And you can check out the interview on the KGET website!)

Communication faculty Helen Acosta said she was “living her best life on Zoom”:

BCSGA shared another #ThrowbackThursday photo of campus:

I also enjoyed this throwback post from 2018 of Corny Rodriguez.
“We had our Planetarium field trip today and got to visit Tata at work!”

And we got another look back at Corny on the Padrinos de Bakersfield College instagram:

Community Voices

Kim Arbolante wrote about the Bakersfield College Writing Center and how they have adapted to helping students during the pandemic in a Community Voices piece this week.

“BC’s Writing Center has used this time during a pandemic to sharpen our lens on equity and put thought into action. We have recommitted ourselves, as professional tutors, to pivoting what we do and how we do it where it would cause further undue burden to ask our students to do so. This is why we remain open on Zoom with extended evening and weekend hours for busy parents and caregivers. This is why we insisted that all of our announcements to students about our new online Writing Center went out in both English and Spanish. This is why our new Umoja and Writing Center peer mentors even monitor social media to ensure no student goes with questions unanswered.”

Read more on The Bakersfield Californian website.


2019 CCCCCTCA Scholar Athlete Team

Congrats to three of our cross country student athletes – Adolfo Escudero, Elias Artega and Elias Martinez – for being named to the 2019 California Community College Cross Country and Track Coaches Association (CCCCCTCA) Scholar Athlete Team.

To make the team, cross-country student athletes must complete a minimum of 24 academic units with a 3.5 GPA or higher. This is the second year in arrow that Adolfo has made the team. This is a well-deserved recognition for all three of these students. Go ‘Gades!


That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever